Prayagraj: The Allahabad High Court has refused to quash an administrative order that banned the use of loudspeakers for ‘azaan’ at two mosques in Baddopur and Shahganj villages of Jaunpur district in Uttar Pradesh.
The court in its order on Wednesday stated that no religion advocates the use of loudspeakers for worship.
“No religion prescribes that prayers are required to be performed through voice amplifiers or by beating of drums… If there is such a practice, it should not adversely affect rights of the others, including that of not being disturbed,” said the division bench of Justice Pankaj Mittal and Justice V.C. Dixit.
The court dismissed the petition filed by one Masroor Ahmad and a fellow resident of Jaunpur.
The court cited a similar 2000 Supreme Court judgment — Church of God (Full Gospel) vs KKR Majestic Colony Welfare Association — where the apex court said that freedom to practice religion was subject to public order, morality and health.
The division bench also dismissed the petitioners’ argument that using loudspeakers to call people to join in the ‘namaaz’ at specific times was an essential part of their religion.
“The fundamental right to religious freedom under Article 25(1) of the Constitution is not absolute. It is subject to Article 19(1)(a) (freedom of speech and expression), and thus both of them have to be read together,” the court pointed out.
The petitioners had submitted an application in March last year, seeking permission to use loudspeakers.
The circle officer of Shahganj had also said in his report submitted to the court that the areas in which these two mosques were located had a mixed population of Hindus and Muslims and allowing the use of amplifiers could lead to a law and order problem.